Yummy Pomodoro Sauce


Realized I have not written a recipe blog in awhile. So, here goes. When we were in Italia we never ate spaghetti like we had here.  It was so much better.  Real tasting.  Real tomato tasting, a silky yummy sauce that tasted so fresh.

I searched the internet for a recipe that tasted like what I had eaten and I think I found one on Bon Appetit.  Made a little change to it and voila here it is.

Yummy Pomodoro Sauce. So yummy. Can be made in larger quantities for big, big parties! Or made and frozen for later use.  So silky and tomatoey.  Tastes like Italia!

Make sure you buy good canned tomatoes like these…

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Sursee Gal Goes Ital :: Desserts Italiano Style

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We ate a lot of sweets over in Italy and you will be glad to know that I documented them all.  Well, almost all.  Well, not even close really.  Craig and I were fascinated and amazed at the Pasticerrias when we were not in the  Gelaterias.  Now we couldn’t pronounce either one.  We always accented the wrong syllable which made it difficult when we were trying to get directions to one! People would shake their heads and not have a clue as to what we were saying.

But, we were successful in scouting out the sweets so here are a few of the yummies we tried.

We love gelato.  Craig even got birthday money to buy his fill.

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It is an art here.

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SO here is my artsy shot….

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I like the Lemon; Craig the Chocolate.

Pasticerrias.   A bakery full of yumminess. We loved looking at all the goodies and picking out our fav. On this day we one we tried this little puppy which was a shortbread cookie filled with apricot and dusted with powdered sugar. I believe we visited this place more than once!  I also loved the shortbread cookie below that is dipped in chocolate.

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At one of these pasticerrias we found this ginormous curl of chocolate.  That is all it was.  My friend, Leslie had to have one of these.

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The bakery had a whole plate just loaded with these. Can you believe it?

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We also had this little beaut.  Kind of like the above apricot cookie and a Linzer cookie mix.  Enjoyed this while sitting on a bench in Volterra and reading.

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Early on our trip, we found out that different regions had different desserts that represented  that region. While in Naples, we had this pastry at our B&B- pure bliss.  It was a flaky, puff-pastry type crust with a custardy filling.

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It was warm and crispy and creamy. Oh MY.  Later I saw this sign in Positano and figured out what it was called. I can NOT pronounce it.

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Of course we had to have some donuts, ‘ala Naples style with our Caffe. Craig got the cream filled and I, the glazed, dusted in sugar of course.  So puffy and yeasty. #DonutLove.  We were walking a ton down there on the Amalfi Coast and climbing loads of stairs so I decided it was ok to splurge.

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One night when we were eating in Siena, I saw the gal next to me order this and thought I have to have it. Have to.  Panna cotta.  A vanilla-ish custard that was cold and smooth and amazing.  You would have wanted one.  I thought I was going to split with Craig, but looking back I think I ate more than 1/2.  I think I could make this?

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On our last night when we ate dinner with our friends, the daughter made this Tiramisu for us.  The classic Italiano Dessert made for us by a real Italian, Lara.

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Yes.  It was Delish, made with love for us and shared around a table of great conversation and laughter.  The best dessert I had the whole trip!

Isn’t that true though, that the food we enjoy with family and friends tastes so sweet.  Lots of stuff happens around a table.  Can we look for ways to this holiday to encourage and love and linger around our tables and enjoy the Sursees of Desserts?  I also have to know what desserts  you look forward to this time of year?  Do tell.


Sursee Gal Goes Ital :: Hospitality Sursees

Hospitality Sursees

We stayed in a lot of different types of places while we were gone.

A Bed and Breakfast in the city.  A Bed and Breakfast out of the city.  A vacation house high on a hill.  A modern Italian hotel.  An old hotel in the center of town.  A charming house just outside of the town where only adults could check in.  An agriturissmo, complete with chickens running free and fields of grapevines at the ready.

In each of these places I found Hospitality Sursees or new ideas for how to welcome a guest.  Let me share a few and maybe you will get some new ideas for any guests coming in for the holidays….

This little place in Naples had the most gorgeous linens on the bed.  I was a tad afraid to lay my head down on the embroidered pillowcase.

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For our breakfast they rolled this little cart in with our fresh squeezed orange juice, hot coffee, a sliced melon from the market and so much more.

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Any one have a rolling cart they can roll into the bedroom for breakfast in bed?

Also check out this Murano Glass Chandy….Wow-Zah!  I love how this family had this in our little rented room.

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Check out the towel hangers in this vacation home in Positano.  These branches of wood reminded me of antlers.

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And look at these shelves for me to unpack and organize all my toiletries.  This was a nice touch because some of the places we stayed there was no place to put my junk.  I need to remember to give guests a place, a flat surface to unpack toiletries.

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In this lush hotel, we had these awesome wooden drawers to unpack our things into.


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I made full use of them for the one night we stayed there! Ha. I thought these glass front drawers would be such a fun thing to have in our closet at home.


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When we walked into our agriturismo room, a little apartment really, she had a fresh flower on the table. And love that lace tablecloth.

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At this regal B&B, she had whole vase of roses in the hallway outside of our bedroom.  Yes, they were real. I had to check…


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Back at the farm, she presented such a pretty table each morning.  I loved the butter curls.

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Think I will have to find one of those serrated, curvy tools to make butter curls at Thanksgiving or our next dinner.  Aren’t they just simple, yet fancy?

She also had special spoons for all the different jars and jellies and sugars.  This one was kind of like a little shovel.

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She used  this chest with the glass doors to keep her silverware and tableware organized. Brilliant.

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Check out how this place had their name embroidered on the towels and the sheets.

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And by the way, these were the dreamiest sheets.  Made in Italy, of course.  I’m on the hunt for some sheets like these if anyone has any suggestions.  Can’t ever understand the thread count, etc.  Will be doing some research and will let you know.

The place above also had names for their rooms, and I thought that would be fun for our house.

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I kind of do that right now, we have the Creative Room, The Cottage and the Mr and Mrs Suite. Maybe I just need some signs! I also noted that lots of the houses had names, so we threw some around.  Villa St Cloud sounds pretty good to me.

Hospitality is about all the extra touches that show your guest you were thinking about them and we are told to Practice Hospitality.

 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Romans 12:13

What do you do to show your family and friends hospitality when they come stay with you?  Do tell…



Sursee Gal Goes Ital :: Cappuccino Love


Cappucino Love

Let’s get one thing straight right now, the Italians love their coffee…espresso, cappuccino, caffe, you name it.  They take breaks and drink coffee in the middle of the afternoon.  And it is an art form, this coffee thing.  One of my favorite memories is of the mom, the grandma and the bambina getting their afternoon cappuccino.  The mom kept feeding the baby in the stroller little spoonfuls of the frothy cream from her cup.  That sweet baby licked the foamy goodness off her upper lip with determination; training starts early!

I love cappuccinos and was ordering them left and right at the B&Bs we stayed in or at a sidewalk cafe when Craig ordered an espresso.

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Loved the chocolate sprinkles!


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An especially welcome cuppa because it was cold and rainy outside.

At one of our B&Bs I learned the secret of the milk frother and made this little beauty myself.  More on a later Sursee Gal about the fun and workings of the Milk Frother.cappucino 8

Even at the simplest little albergo or B&B they would offer a cappuccino, so I took them up on the offer.  Here are a few that I sucked down sampled while in Italy.

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Gorgeousness!! This was by far the most artistic one I received.


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This one had Lots of FROTH- lasted all the way to last drop.


On our last two nights, we stayed at a mod Italian hotel right by the train station with our friends.  It was so awesome to walk out of the train station and right up to our lodging.  This place had a fancy cappuccino machine that allowed me to push a button and make my last cups of yumminess.

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Loved watching it perform its beauty and add the little shot of espresso, right at the very.very.end.


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More to come on the Moka pot we bought and the things we learned about creama and tamping and frothing, demi spoons and the art of coffee.  Sursees! for you.  Ciao!

Sursee Gal Goes Ital :: Beauty Found in a Songbook

Musical Sursee

One day when we were in Volterra, a beautiful city high on a hill, overlooking the Tuscan hills, we found a little Sursee in a shop that restores antique paper.  Volterra was full of artisans crafting and we just happened upon this shop.  When I walked in, there were two ladies with white gloves on, working with  book bindings.  In the back of the shop I spied a huge song book like one I had seen in Siena.  Only in the Duomo in Siena, the beautifully illuminated book was behind glass, like this.Siena song book

I remembered that the colors were so bright and fresh, looking like they had been painted yesterday.  But, they were carefully sealed behind glass and I oh, so wanted to see them close up.

Here in this tiny shop, the book was just sitting out on a stand.  I wanted to see it up close and personal.

So in my broken English/Italian and excellent sign language, I asked if I could get a little closer and see the music book, making little glasses signs with my fingers circling my eyes.   One of the gals smiled and nodded, and let me walk up right next to it. It was so beautiful, so richly decorated, so much detail and the colors so bright.  I was overwhelmed and moved at being that close to an ancient manuscript, and I started crying. Yes, I did.

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The woman stood beside me and showed us how the pages were made out of sheepskin and pointed out the faint markings of where the spine would have been.  In her broken English she said these were songbooks from the Duomo in Pisa and were from the 1500s. I was transfixed by the beauty.

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Then she quietly removed her little white gloves and held them out to me in her hands like an offering, nodding for me to put them on.

What?  I will get to touch these pages and actually turn them to find new illuminations???

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Look at those colors…the blue of crushed lapis lazuli.  The reds from some berry.  The gold leaf.  She had her phone out trying to translate to me what we where looking at; I just saw Beauty.  Look how the notes are written in for the song, little block-like notes.

I think these books were put on stands at the front of the church so all could see during the service.

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Craig was Johnny-on-the-spot and got Sursee Gal on video.  I was just in heaven. I was touching something that was 500 years old.  The pages were thick and a little soft because it was sheepskin.  I turned a few pages and marveled at the moment.

Oh, my stars.  I am so glad that I can share this with you.

Here are the two precious gals that worked at this restoration shop.  They were also working on bindings with needle and thread, sewing old books together in an ancient method.  They restore books from all over Tuscany.  What a job!

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So, even as I write this, I can’t believe I had that adventure.  Hope you enjoy this little Sursee from a small town in Tuscany.  xoxo



Sursee Gal Goes Ital :: Door Knockers

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I saw so many gorgeous door knockers while I was in Italy.  The doors were magnificent- big. wooden. carved.   And then, like the icing on a cake, were these gorgeous knockers.  All different.  So many styles. shapes.  I saw a few repeats, but mostly they were all unique.

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I wondered if anyone uses them.  Really. Does anyone pick it up and knock, knock , knock?  I was so intrigued with them.  So curious.  What was behind the door?


Right now I am experiencing extreme jet lag.  We have been home around four days and it is the middle of the night in Italy, and I think my bed is calling me. So I will say Ciao, Ciao and leave you with these wonderful Sursees for a door. door knocker 3 door knocker 4 door knocker 5 door knocker 6 door knocker 7 door knocker 9